Sunday 1st February 2015,
Despite a forecast for high winds and freezing temperatures, ten stalwarts met up at various locations between Inverness and the Braemore junction. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised by the gentle breeze and picture postcard snow conditions.
Beyond ‘the Home Loch’, the snow was deeper and walking was more of an effort. Andrew and Lisa put on snow shoes and trail blazed for some way until Ian D bravely took over. Robin then led a group of five southwards towards the summit of Meall Doire Faid, but again the snow proved too deep at that point, covering over a couple of stream gullies.
By the time we all reached a large boulder on the 550m contour line everyone was ready for a break and a bite to eat. Some people had carried colourful ‘zarski shelters’ and these were put to good use by five of the group plus one dog. A flurry of snow added to the ‘reality check’ of being out in winter, but this soon passed and everyone continued a short distance to the smaller of two frozen lochs. Some folk felt that this was a good point to return, whilst Robin, Richard H, Michael G, Anush and David made another break for the summit. This time they were successful and enjoyed a wintery vista at 730m before making their way down through some quite deep snow to re-join Andrew, Louise, Ian, Mel and Lisa back at the cars.
Everyone agreed it had been a good day out, and we are all looking forward to another ‘local’ walk later in February.
Note: Unfortunately despite the hard work of the Northern Access Forum, there does still appear to be an issue with the Braemore estate. If anyone else is planning visiting this area please make sure that you do keep any dogs on leads until you are on the open moor, and that you are familiar with your rights as laid out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Be polite but firm if you are challenged and report any problems to either the MCof S or the Northern Access Forum.